If GPs asked us parenting questions at our yearly check-up, it’s safe to say screen time would be one of the topics most likely to inspire a bluff (half-truth, at best). But when it comes to ranking forms of media from best to worst, how do video games compare to the standard kids’ show? Is the medium really inherently unhealthy for kids, or is it more often than not just a harmless—perhaps even beneficial—mode of engagement? The truth will likely sound familiar, as it’s one that applies to many different parenting decisions: Whether video games have a negative or positive impact depends on a number of factors, not least of which is the personality of the child in question.
That said, when it comes to achieving that balanced approach to parenting we all strive for, knowledge is power. Read on to receive some kernels of wisdom from three moms, a teenager and clinical psychologist Dr. Bethany Cook—all of whom have something to say about kids playing video games. The complete picture might just help you come to your own conclusion.